California Residency

The Admissions Office is responsible for determining the residency status of SF State applicants and students for CSU tuition purposes. This determination is based on the student's Application for Admission, Residency Questionnaire, and, as necessary, other information the student furnishes. A student who fails to provide sufficient information to establish resident status will be classified as a nonresident for tuition purposes.

This page offers basic information regarding the determination of residency for tuition purposes. Additional information regarding CSU California Residency Determination is available in the SF State Bulletin and on the CSU California Residency for Tuition Purposes webpage.  

The determination of residency for tuition purposes affects whether a student pays in-state or out-of-state tuition fees. Out-of-state tuition fees are higher than in-state tuition fees. Just because a student is or has been a resident of the State of California does not mean that he or she qualifies to receive the in-state tuition rate. Certain requirements, established under California law, must be met. California State University (CSU) requirements for establishing residency for tuition purposes are independent from requirements for establishing residency for other purposes, such as for tax purposes, or other state or institutional residency. Provisions for residency at a California State University also differ from those at the University of California and the California Community Colleges.

CSU Chancellor's Office Residency Information

A student's initial residency status is determined by the Admissions Office according to answers to questions on the Cal State Apply admissions application. If additional information is required in order to determine residency status, you will be asked to submit a CSU Residence Questionnaire and may be asked to provide copies of official or legal supporting documents.

To be classified as a resident for tuition purposes, a student must have an eligible immigration status to establish residency, meet physical presence by the Residence Determination Date, and demonstrate intent to indefinitely remain in the State of California for more than one year immediately preceding the Residence Determination Date. If the student is under the age of 19 (with limited exceptions), the student’s residence status is derived from that of the parent or from that of the legal guardian.

Generally, to be eligible for resident classification, a person must be able to establish the following one year immediately prior to the residence determination date:


  1. They have the eligible immigration status to establish California residency.
  2. The have demonstrated the legal intent to establish California residency.
  3. They have established and maintained a physical presence and permanent residence in California.

For more information, see the CSU Determining California Residency page.

A student classified as a nonresident for a prior term may seek reclassification in any subsequent term; however, reclassification requires that, in addition to satisfying the requirements of physical presence and intent to remain indefinitely in the state, the student must also satisfy the requirement of financial independence as outlined in Title 5 CCR § 41905.5.

To request reclassification, please submit a CSU Residence Questionnaire and your supporting documentation to the Admissions Office.

For more information, see the CSU Determining California Residency page.

Students not classified as California residents for tuition purposes may qualify for an exception or an exemption from payment of nonresident tuition. Visit the CSU Exceptions & Exemptions page for more information and a full list of exceptions.


California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request (AB540)

The California State University (CSU) Nonresident Tuition Exemption is available for certain nonresident students (including U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and undocumented individuals) who have attended, graduated, or achieved the equivalent from a California school. These students may be exempted from paying nonresident tuition but must remain classified as “nonresidents” for residence classification and financial aid eligibility purposes. The exemption originated with the passage of Assembly Bill 540, Assembly Bill 2000, and Senate Bill 68. 

If you do not meet the eligibility requirements for California residency for tuition purposes, you may qualify for an exemption from nonresident tuition if you:

Meet the Attendance Requirement

  • Attended a high school (public or private) in California for three or more years; OR
  • Have attended a primary, secondary, or high school in California for a combination of three or more years; OR
  • Have attended or attained credits at a combination of California high school, adult school, and California Community College for a total of three or more years


Meet the Graduation/Degree Requirement

  • Graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent from a California high school prior to the start of the term (for example, passing the GED or California High School Proficiency exam); OR
  • Completed or will complete (before the first term of enrollment at SF State) an associate's degree form a California Community College; OR
  • Completed or will complete (before the first term of enrollment at SF State) the minimum requirements at a CA Community College for transfer into the CSU system

To be considered for this exemption, students must submit the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request (AB540) (PDF) form along with supporting documents (i.e., transcripts, proof of attendance at a California school) to the Residency Specialist in the Admissions Office.

Please note: If you qualify for this exemption, your nonresident tuition fee will be waived and you will pay California resident tuition fees; however, you will still be considered a nonresident for all other purposes. Students who qualify for this exemption may also be eligible to apply for and receive funds from certain state and institutional financial assistance programs through the California Dream Act.

SF State Dream Resource Center

CSU Resources for Undocumented Students

CSU Residence Questionnaire (PDF)

If you are applying for admission to SF State have Residency Questionnaire on your To Do List, please send us this form. It will help us determine if you meet the California residency requirements.

The Residency Questionnaire is also used for students who are currently attending SF State and wish to ask for residence reclassification.


California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request (AB540) (PDF)

For new and continuing students requesting consideration for the nonresident tuition exemption under AB 540.


How to Submit Forms:

Please send the completed questionnaire and/or AB 540 tuition exemption affidavit form(s) to: 


Office of Undergraduate Admissions & Recruitment

San Francisco State University

1600 Holloway Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94132


You may also contact us for more information and/or email forms and documents to

The Residence Determination Date is a date in which supporting documents and physical presence must be met for the previous year.  This means that students must be physically present and show the intent of making California their permanent home a year and one day prior to the Residence Determination Date. The Residence Determination Date for each term are as follows:

Semester Determination Date
Fall September 20
Spring January 25
Summer June 1

A student classified as a nonresident may appeal a final campus decision within 30 days of notification by the campus. Appeals will be accepted only if at least one of the following criteria applies:

  1. The decisions was based on:

    • a significant error of fact by the campus;
    • a significant procedural error by the campus; or
    • an incorrect application of the law which, if corrected would require that the student be reclassified as a California resident; and/or
  2. Significant new information, not previously known or available to the student, became available after the date of the campus decision classifying the student as a nonresident and based on the new information, the classification as a nonresident is incorrect.

Instructions to submit an appeal and additional information can be found on the CSU Filing a Residency Appeal page.